What is it about clowns that make them so horrifying? That’s the question that author Stephen King asked when he wrote the novel IT, a story about a killer clown named Pennywise that preys on young children. Like most of King’s work it was adapted into a horror movie that frightened and terrified viewers for years to come.
The movie was also hugely influential when it came to other scary movies borrowing the formula. It spawned a legion of films that used clowns as psycho killers.
The horrifying film which has now become a movie staple has now also inspired a short spinoff movie loosely based on the source material. The film is titled “Pennywise” and is written and directed by aspiring filmmaker James Cawley. The official summary of the movie is,
“Twenty two years after a horrible summer where five kids had to fight a monster which dwelled in an abandoned mine and fed on children. It’s back.
After so many years of thinking they had ended the evil that lurked below Shelly’s world comes crashing down when her own daughter disappears. Reuniting the group from her youth they reclaim their secret weapons and attempt to kill the creature only know as IT . . . or Pennywise . . . for good.”
The film works as a vehicle to carry on the spirit of Stephen King’s original work. It is both chilling and gripping, with a creepy atmosphere that asks the viewer what exactly they’re are witnessing.
The entire cast from the little girl to the four friends are convincing, but the person that makes this film so eerie is Andrew Johnson’s rendition of Pennywise. The actor is absolutely convincing in the role as the psychotic clown killer.
The beginning has Pennywise lure a young girl into the dark depths of a sewer or cave, and his creepy persistence is authentically unnerving.
Johnson looks like he’s putting everything he has into the character, and it shows. Pennywise here is dark, scary, and otherworldly.
Cawley’s effort like most short films is not without its flaws, but the end product succeeds in what it sets out to do: scarring and shocking the viewer.
Watch it if you dare.
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